One huge change pertinent to my previous entry about "casual" vs "hardcore" is the change to the badge system:
Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism.
So, Heroism and Valor will no longer drop from anywhere - instead, the heroics, 10 mans and 25s that dropped these badges (eg Heroic Nexus, 10 man Naxx, 25 man Malygos) will drop Emblems of Conquest. You can either use these for Conquest gear, or exchange them 1 for 1 for Heroism or Valor tokens, to buy those items.
The upshot: you can kit yourself out in Conquest and Valor gear without ever setting foot in a 25 man raid.
The hardcore raider in me screams "WHAT A RIP OFF! Now anyone can get Ulduar gear without having to work hard in Ulduar!"
The casual Kiiva in me rubs her chin and says, "Nice, now I can get Ulduar gear without having to work hard in Ulduar..."
Well, not exactly. But it DOES mean that I don't have to play "catch up" trying to gear my rerolled character up to the tier of raiding that I want to be playing in. I won't have to run old 25 mans (if I don't want to) to be able to get gear of an adequate standard to go do Ulduar or start out in the next lot of raiding. If I want to, I can just run heroics with a few friends in order to dress Kiiva in some shiny epics.
On the other hand, running the "old" stuff now has a purpose after you've grabbed all the drops out of them that you need. Heroics, after finishing reps and whatnot, were places I never bothered with again (unless for mounts and achievements). Now, I can go do heroics or Naxx and grab Conquest badges to be able to gear Kiiva or get her some items for offspec.
As Spinks said in Gevlon's post - this is an alt patch. Archangel added the point about dual spec. It gives people a reason to go back and do these heroics and raids once they've exhausted the achievements and taken all the drops they needed. And I would add that it is also a reroller patch - allowing people to reroll without thinking they'll have to spend months catching up to the level of gear they need.
The change will also help people who need/want to take a break from the game but don't want to "fall behind" the gear curve when they get back. My previous post had a number of people saying that they came along halfway in TBC and struggled to be able to raid because they were always behind. With this change, you won't have to run Ulduar in order to be ready for Icecrown. You can use your half hour here and there to keep gearing your character (at a more relaxed pace) and still be able to jump into Icecrown if you want to get back to raiding (this may be me).
The casual in me says "sweet change!" but I can understand how the hardcore raiders, taking their items on DKP saved for weeks, might be.. slightly pissy.
I believe I'll be setting up camp on this here fence. :P